Market Town Benchmarking Measuring the performance of town centres Southam Report
May 2011 Mike King Senior Research Consultant 07818 068982 email@example.com
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Retail offering • • • • • • • •
Southam (41%) has a lower than National (54%) average number of A1 Commercial Units. Southam has fewer A3 Restaurants and Cafes than the average figure for the 70 towns which were ‘Benchmarked’ in 2010. Southam has a high level of Sue Generis Commercial Units represented in the town centre (12%). Nationally town centres offer a two thirds Comparison (68%), one thirds Convenience (32%) split of their A1 Commercial Units, in Southam however this trend is reversed. (Comparison 39%/ Convenience 61%) 75% of the A1 Commercial Units in Southam are Independent, which is higher than the National average of 68%. Southam town centre does not house any Key Attractors. In March 2011, the vacancy rate within Southam town centre was 7%, lower than the National average of 8% The average number of market traders in Southam is 10, much lower than the National average of 27.
Footfall • Footfall in Southam increased by 56% on a Busy (Market Day) from a Quiet (Non Market Day). • Southam was considerably lower than the National average on both Busy (78 compared to 143) and Quiet Days (50 compared to 99). Business views • • • • •
67% of respondents had been based in Southam for more than ten years, similar to the national pattern (61%). 78% felt that potential local customers were a positive aspect of having a business based in the town 67% of respondents indicated that Car Parking was a positive aspect of the town centre; interestingly 44% stated it was a negative aspect. 56% of businesses who responded to the survey reported that Geographical Location was a positive aspect of Southam town centre. 70% of the shoppers post codes gathered were based in Southam.
Car Parking •
Car Parking occupancy on a Market Day is 78%, compared to the National figure of 83% and 57% on a Non Market Day.
Town centre users • • • • • • • • • • •
Southam (13%) has a higher than National (8%) average percentage of shoppers origin post codes from ‘tourists’ based more than a 30 minute drive away. 48% of respondents were visiting/ visited Southam town centre to conduct convenience shopping. None of the respondents were visiting/ visited Southam to go comparison shopping. 24% of those surveyed were in/ went to Southam to Access Services. The majority of Southam Town Centre users were frequent with 40% visiting Daily and 36% more than once a week, a pattern mirroring the National trends. Mirroring the national picture the majority of the town centre users surveyed visited Southam by car (47%) or on foot. (45%) 59% of those surveyed rated the physical appearance of Southam as good. 79% rated the cleanliness of the town centre positively. 35% rated the best aspect of Southam town centre the convenience to where they lived. 55% rated the variety of shops as either poor (46%) or very poor, (10%) and when asked how they would improve the town centre, respondents concentrated comments on improving the retail offer. 51% of those who answered the question on rating the leisure and cultural activities in Southam town centre provided a rating of poor (45%) or very poor. (6%)
CONTENTS PAGE INTRODUCTION METHODOLOGY KEY FINDINGS KPI 1: Total Number of Commercial Units KPI 2: Retail by Comparison / Convenience KPI 3: Key attractors / multiple trader representation KPI 4: Number of vacant units KPI 5: Number of markets / traders KPI 6: Zone A Retail Rents KPI 7: Footfall Counts KPI 8: Car Parking Availability and Usage KPI 9: Business Confidence Survey KPI 10: Visitor Satisfaction Survey KPI 11: Shoppers Origin Survey
Page Number 5 5 6 6 9 10 11 12 12 13 14 16 19 26
INTRODUCTION Town Benchmarking is a research methodology developed by market town partnerships and Action for Market Towns in 2006. The process provides a comprehensive portrait of the commercial life of the town and involves gathering and analysing data on Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) within a designated town centre area. The analysis provides data on each KPI for individual towns and a ‘National’ figure, which is the average for all the 70 towns which participated in Benchmarking during 2010. Benchmarking thus provides those working in on behalf of town centres with a better understanding of their offering and a toolkit to measure the impact of any developments/ initiatives. In 2012, the newly formed Southam Town Centre Partnership will be the body responsible for collecting the Benchmarking data for the town. METHODOLOGY Each KPI was collected by Mike King, Senior Consultant, Action for Market Towns in a standardized manner as highlighted in the Table below. KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATOR KPI 1: Total number of commercial units KPI 2: Retail by Comparison/Convenience KPI 3:Key attractors / multiple trader representation KPI 4: Number of vacant units KPI 5: Number of markets / traders KPI 6: Zone A Retail Rents KPI 7: Footfall KPI 8: Car Parking Availability and Usage KPI 9: Business Confidence KPI 10: Town Centre Users Survey KPI 11: Shoppers Origin
DATA COLLECTION METHODOLOGY Visual Survey Visual Survey Visual Survey Visual Survey Visual Survey Valuation Office Agency Footfall Survey on Market and Non Market Days Footfall Survey on Market and Non Market Days Postal Survey On Line and Face to Face Survey Shoppers Origin Postcode
Before any KPI data was collected the core commercial area of the town centre was defined working alongside the local Authority. The town centre area included the core shopping streets and car parks attached or adjacent to these streets. In total, data on 73 ground floor commercial units was recorded.
KEY FINDINGS The following section is a full detailed analysis of the data collected on each of the KPI’s for Southam. KPI 1: Total Number of Commercial Units It is important to understand the scale and variety of the “commercial offer” throughout the town. A variety of shops and a wide range of services in a town are important to its ability to remain competitive and continue to attract customers. Sustaining a balance between the different aspects of buying and selling goods and services ensures that the local population (and visitors from outside) can spend time and money there, keeping the generated wealth of the town within the local economy. Importantly, it forms the employment base for a substantial proportion of the community too, helping to retain the population rather than lose it to nearby towns and cities. Class
A3 A4 A5
Type of Use
Class Includes: Shops, retail warehouses, hairdressers, travel and ticket agencies, post offices (but not sorting Shops offices), pet shops, sandwich bars, showrooms, domestic hire shops, dry cleaners, funeral directors and internet cafes Financial services such as banks and building Financial and professional societies, professional services (other than services health and medical services) including estate and employment agencies and betting offices Food and drink for consumption on the Restaurants and Cafés premises- restaurants, snack bars and cafes Public houses, wine bars or other drinking Drinking establishments establishments (but not nightclubs) Sale of hot food for consumption off the Hot food takeaways premises Theatres, hostels providing no significant element of care, scrap yards. Petrol filling stations and shops selling and/ or displaying motor vehicles. Retail warehouse clubs, Sui Generis nightclubs, laundrettes, taxi business, ("unique" establishments) amusement centres, casinos, haulage yards, transport depots, veterinary clinics, dog parlours, tanning and beauty salons and tattoo studios. Business Offices (other than those that fall within A2) research and development of products and processes, light industry appropriate in a
B2 B8 C1
residential area Use for industrial process other than one falling within class B1 (excluding incineration purposes, General Industrial chemical treatment or landfill or hazardous waste) Storage and Distribution Warehouses, includes open air storage Hotels, boarding and guest houses where no Hotels significant element of care is provided (excludes hostels) Residential care homes, hospitals, nursing Residential Institutions homes, boarding schools, residential colleges and training centres. Use for a provision of secure residential accommodation, including use as a prison, young offenders institution, detention centre, Secure Residential secure training centre, custody centre, short Institution term holding centre, secure hospital, secure local authority accommodation or use as a military barracks. Clinics, health centres, crĂ¨ches, day centres, schools, art galleries (other than for sale or hire), Non residential museums, libraries, halls, places of worship, institutions church halls, law court. Non residential education and training centres. Cinemas, music and concert halls, bingo and dance halls (but not nightclubs), swimming baths, skating rinks, gymnasiums or area for Assembly and leisure indoor or outdoor sports and recreations (except for motor sports, or where firearms are used).
A1 A2 A3 A4 A5 B1 B2 B8 C1 C2 C3 D1 D2 SG
41% 15% 3% 7% 7% 4% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 10% 0% 12%
54% 13% 10% 3% 4% 3% 1% 0% 2% 0% 1% 4% 1% 3%
Total Number of Units in Use: 68 The table highlights that Southam (41%) has a lower than National (54%) average number of A1 Commercial Units. Similarly, Southam has fewer A3 Restaurants and Cafes than the average figure for the 70 towns which participated in Town Benchmarking in 2010. Another noticeable difference is that Southam has a high level of Sue Generis Commercial Units represented in the town centre (12%). _____________________________________________________________________
KPI 2: Retail by Comparison / Convenience A1 Retail units selling goods can be split into two different types Comparison and Convenience. Convenience retail describes merchandise that is purchased on a very frequent basis, is of relatively low value, and is often consumable in nature. Examples include: • • • • • • • • •
Food and non alcoholic beverages Tobacco Alcoholic beverages (off trade) Newspapers and Magazines Flowers Pharmaceuticals Cosmetics Toiletries Non durable household goods (goods which last fewer than 3 years)
Comparison goods is a term used in retailing to indicate goods purchased for long term use that are likely to be subject to comparison between suppliers before purchase.. Examples include: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Clothing Shoes and other footwear Materials for maintenance & repair of dwellings Furniture & furnishings; carpets and other floor coverings Household textiles Major household appliances, electric or not Small electric household appliances Tools & miscellaneous accessories Glassware, tableware & household utensils Medical goods & other pharmaceutical products Therapeutic appliances & equipment Bicycles Recording media Games, toys & hobbies; sport & camping equipment, musical instruments Garden equipment and goods Pets & related products Books & stationary Audio-visual, photographic and information processing equipment Appliances for personal care Jewellery, watches & clocks
The presence of a variety of shops in a shopping centre is important to its ability to remain competitive and continue to attract customers. A balance of both 9 _____________________________________________________________________
comparison and convenience retail units is therefore ideal in terms of encouraging visitors / potential customers.
Southam 39% 61%
National 68% 32%
The table illustrates that Nationally town centres offer a two thirds Comparison (68%), one thirds Convenience (32%) split of their A1 Commercial Units, in Southam however this trend is reversed. (Comparison 39%/ Convenience 61%) _____________________________________________________________________ KPI 3: Key attractors / multiple trader representation The vitality of a town centre depends highly on the quality and variety of retailers represented. National retail businesses are considered key attractors and are particularly important in terms of attracting visitors and shoppers to a town. However, the character and profile of a town often also depends on the variety and mix of independent shops that can give a town a “unique selling point” and help distinguish it from other competing centres. A sustainable balance of key attractors and multiple names alongside local independent shops is therefore likely to have the greatest positive impact on the vitality and viability of a town. The following shops are considered key attractors by Experian Goad Key Attractors List 2010. Argos BHS Boots Burtons Carphone Warehouse Clarks Clintons Curry’s Debenhams Dorothy Perkins H &M HMV House of Fraser John Lewis
New Look Next River Island Sainsbury’s Superdrug Tesco Topman Topshop Virgin Megastore Vodaphone WH Smith Waitrose Waterstones Wilkinson’s
Multiple traders have a countrywide presence and are well known household names. Regional shops are identified as those with stores / units in several towns throughout one geographical region only and Independent shops are identified as those that are specifically local to Southam. 10 _____________________________________________________________________
Independent Key Attractor Multiple Regional
Southam 75% 0% 18% 7%
National 68% 4% 19% 9%
75% of the A1 Commercial Units in Southam are Independent, which is higher than the National average of 68%. Southam town centre does not house any Key Attractors, whilst the figures for Multiple and Regional traders is very similar to the National average.
KPI 4: Number of vacant units Vacant units are an important indicator of the vitality and viability of a town centre. The presence of vacant units over a period of time can identify potential weaknesses in a town centre, whether due to locational criteria, high rent levels or strong competition from other centres.
Southam 93% 7%
National 92% 8%
In March 2011, the vacancy rate within Southam town centre was 7%, lower than the National average of 8%.
KPI 5: Number of markets / traders Good quality markets provide competition and choice for consumers. A busy and well-used street market can therefore be a good indicator of the vitality of a town centre. Conversely, if a market is in decline (e.g. empty pitches reducing numbers), it can be an indication of potential weaknesses in the town centre e.g. a lack of footfall customers due to an inappropriate retail mix or increased competitor activity. Street markets can also generate substantial benefits for the local economy. Markets can also provide a local mechanism for a diverse range of local enterprises to start, flourish and grow, adding to the sustainable mix of shops services on offer throughout the town.
Average number of market days per week Average number of traders at a market
The average number of market traders in Southam is 10, much lower than the National average of 27.
KPI 6: Zone Retail Rents The values for Zone A rentals are the “industry” benchmarks for the relative appeal of a location with its users and with the owners or investors in property. In particular retail rents can provide a useful indication of a town’s performance and highlight how attractive it is to businesses. Conversely, where rents are falling it can be an indicator of decline.
Zone A Retail Rents
Zone A Retail Rents for Southam is based on an analysis of town centre properties on www.2010.voa.gov.uk and highlight that the average for the town is lower than the National average. _____________________________________________________________________
KPI 7: Footfall Counts The arrival and movement of people, whether as residents, workers, visitors or shoppers is vital to the success of the majority of businesses within the town centre. The more people that are attracted to the town, the better it trades and the more prosperous the businesses in it, provided there is ample available disposable income in that population. Measuring passing people in a consistent manner in the same place, at the same time builds up a picture of the town, its traders and their relative success over the weeks and months. Southam 78 50
National 143 99
Footfall in Southam increased by 56% on a Busy/Market Day from a Quiet/Non Market Day. It must be noted however, that footfall in Southam was considerably lower than the National average on both Busy (78 compared to 143) and Quiet Days (50 compared to 99). The following table offers more detail on the footfall count point location and the time and day specific data. Interestingly the main pattern was for footfall to decline during the course of the morning in Southam. Count Point Location: Outside Post Office
Market Day/ Busy Day Count
Non Market Day/ Quiet Day Count
KPI 8: Car Parking Availability and Usage These days a large proportion of spending customers in a town centre come by car. In the rural setting, the car tends to be an essential tool, used by both those who come to spend and those who come to work. The provision of adequate and convenient car parking facilities is therefore a key element of town centre vitality. An acceptable number of available spaces with a regular, quick turn-over for shoppers is the ideal while adequate longer stay, less convenient spaces for local owners/ workers and visitors must be considered too. The following tables provide a summary of the Car Parking offering within Southam.
Total Spaces Short Stay Spaces (4 hours and under) Long Stay Spaces (Over 4 hours) Disabled Spaces
Total Spaces Short Stay Spaces (4 hours and under) Long Stay Spaces (Over 4 hours) Disabled Spaces
Total Spaces Short Stay Spaces (4 hours and under) Long Stay Spaces (Over 4 hours) Disabled Spaces
Car Parks Number 267 (227 Mkt. Day)
165 (125 Mkt Day) 13
On Street Number 55
Overall Number 322
There are 267 off street (83%) and 55 on street (17%) parking spaces available for public use. In total 55% of the car parking offering in Southam is Long Stay.
The following table illustrates occupancy and illegal parking rates for all car parking within Southam on Market and Non Market Days. Car parking occupancy on a Market Day is 78%, compared to the National figure of 83% and 57% on a Non Market Day. Southam
Avg Occupancy – Market Day
Avg Occupancy –Non Market Day
Illegal Parking – Market Day
Illegal Parking – Non Market Day
KPI 9: Business Confidence Survey The aim of the Business Confidence Survey is to establish an understanding of the economy of the town. By establishing the trading conditions of the town centre businesses efforts can be focussed on looking at issues which are of concern and how to improve them. What is the nature of your business?
56% 22% 11% 0% 11%
65% 19% 3% 5% 9%
11% 0% 89%
12% 9% 78%
less than one year one to five years six to ten years more than ten years
0% 11% 22% 67%
5% 18% 16% 61%
5. Compared to last year has your turnover…….?, increased stayed the same decreased
44% 22% 33%
35% 31% 34%
6. Compared to last year has your profitability…….? increased
Retail Commercial/Professional Public Sector Hospitality Other What type of business are you? Multiple Trader Regional Independent How many people work at these premises? Full Time Part Time How long has your business been in the town?
stayed the same decreased
7. Over the next 12 months do you think your turnover willâ€Śâ€Ś.? increase stay the same decrease
50% 37% 13%
45% 39% 16%
Prosperity of the town Labour pool Environment Geographical location Mix of retail offer Potential tourist customers Potential local customers Affordable housing Transport links Car parking
22% 33% 33% 56% 33% 22% 78% 0% 11% 67%
27% 9% 26% 38% 22% 26% 56% 23% 10% 28%
Rental values/property costs Other
Prosperity of the town Labour pool Environment Geographical location Mix of retail offer Potential tourist customers Potential local customers Affordable housing Transport links Car parking Rental values/property costs
14% 0% 0% 14% 14% 0% 14% 0% 14% 43% 14%
26% 7% 9% 6% 56% 16% 25% 27% 27% 25% 14%
Local business competition
8. What are the positive aspects of having a business located in the town? (Multiselect)
9. What are the negative aspects of having a business located in the town? (Multiselect)
Competition from other places Competition from the Internet Other
29% 14% 0%
13% 6% 11%
10a. Has your business suffered from any crime over the last 12 months? No Yes
10b. What type of crime has your business suffered over the last 12 months (Multiselect) theft Abuse criminal damage Other
0% 0% 100% 0%
41% 13% 28% 19%
The Business Confidence Survey highlights a number of key themes: • • • • • • •
67% of respondents had been based in Southam for more than ten years, similar to the national pattern. (61%) 44% of respondents reported that compared to last year their turnover had increased. 50% indicated that they expected their turnover to increase over the next 12 months. 78% felt that potential local customers were a positive aspect of having a business based in the town. 67% of respondents indicated that Car Parking was a positive aspect of the town centre, whilst interestingly 43% stated it was a negative aspect. A theme to emerge from the comments supplied by the Businesses in terms of how Southam town centre could be improved centred on moving the market to Market Hill. 56% of businesses who responded to the survey reported that Geographical Location was a positive aspect of Southam town centre.
KPI 10: Town Centre Users Survey The aim of the Visitor Satisfaction Survey is to establish how your town is seen by those people who use it. By asking visitors, of all types, a more detailed picture can be obtained as what matters to regular visitors (i.e. locals who pop in every day or work in town) can be very different to someone who has never been to the place before. For the first group signage is not an issue, for example, and the second may not worry about fear of night time crime. The Town Centre Users Survey was based on 98 completed surveys, 50 Face to Face within Southam and 48 via an online survey hosted on local websites in Southam and surrounding villages. Main purpose of town centre visit 48
50 45 40
5 0 0 Work
48% of respondents were visiting/ visited Southam town centre to conduct Convenience Shopping. Interestingly none of the respondents were visiting/ visited to go Comparison Shopping. 24% of those surveyed were in/ went to Southam to Access Services.
Frequency of visits 40
40 36 36
More than once a week
More than once a month
Once a month or less
The survey results indicated that the majority of Southam Town Centre users were frequent with 40% visiting Daily and 36% more than once a week, a pattern mirroring the National trends. Money spent in an a normal visit 30 30 25
On an average visit, 30% of those surveyed indicated that they would spend between £5.01 and £10.00 on a visit to Southam.
Mode of transport 50
45 45 40
0 On Foot
Mirroring the national picture the majority of the town centre users surveyed visited Southam by car (47%) or on foot. (45%) Physical appearance 59
0 Very Good
59% of those surveyed rated the physical appearance of Southam as good. A higher than average (26%) felt that the town centre was poor. (34%)
80 71 67
0 0 Very Good
The results, in terms of how town centre users rated the cleanliness of Southam were very similar to the national average. Variety of shops
20 15 9
5 0 Very Good
Once again, the pattern in regards to how town centre users rated the variety of shops in Southam followed the national patterns. 55% rated the variety as either poor (46%) or very poor. (10%)
Leisure and culture 49
45 40 35 35
20 15 8
0 Very Good
51% of those who answered the question on rating the leisure and cultural activities in Southam town centre provided a rating of poor (45%) or very poor. (6%) Best aspects of the town centre
Physical appearance Shopping Restaurants Access to Services - e.g. banks, Post Office, Library Leisure facilities Cultural activities Pubs/Bars/Nightclubs Transport links Ease of walking around the town centre Convenience - e.g. near where you live Safety Car Parking Other
Southam 4% 12% 0% 19% 3% 1% 7% 20% 21% 35% 6% 19% 1
National 15% 25% 50% 21% 49% 17% 6% 15% 41% 12% 6% n/a 14%
35% of those surveyed rated the best aspect of Southam town centre the convenience to where they lived, 21% the ease of walking around the town centre and 20% transport links. 23 _____________________________________________________________________
Length of stay 70 70
40 Southam 30
0 Less than an hour
The main feature in regards to the amount of time town centre users stayed in Southam is the briefness. 70% reported that they stayed less than an hour compared to the national average of 28%. How town centre users would like to see the town centre improved The main theme to emerge was to improve the retail offering as highlighted by the following selection of comments; • • • • • • • • • • • •
Would like to have a local butcher and greengrocer back in the town - these shut a number of years ago Better shops Better range of mid-range shops e.g. clothing, books, jewellery More variety in shops (three supermarkets are not needed in such a small town Improve the range of shops not just gift shops and florists. More shops Better range of more up to date shops Too many takeaways Clothes shops More variety of restaurant food Increased variety of shops by financial encouragement to invest Improve the retail offering
Improving shop fronts was also regularly cited; •
Improvement to shop fronts with a coordinated colour scheme
• • • • • • •
Clean the fascias….Smarten up Face lift shop fronts need improving" More co-ordination between shop fronts Better range of shops with attractive frontages Shop fronts could be looked after and decorated An initiate to tidy up shop frontages, the new florist and ladies clothes shops are and example of what can be done Tighten up on planning regulations for shop fronts etc.
Another of the themes to emerge from town centre users was that Southam could be improved if it was cleaned up; • • •
Clean it up more Cleaning up the town Spruce up
Improvements and redevelopment to existing buildings and areas were noted; •
Encourage redevelopment of land to the rear of Coventry Street for commercial reasons. There is unused land to the rear that could be used for free car parking that would encourage people to shop there rather than travel to Leamington Improve the area where the Library and Police Station are particularly the outside appearances of the two buildings The Police Station needs to redevelop into a use for Civic reasons such as a one stop shop for council, Art gallery-museum, Social services, youth facilities, health care etc. The Police could be relocated at the Fire Station to a smaller building to the rear of the existing building." Modernise library Take away parking from Market Square and make it a public space with seating
KPI11: Shoppers Origin The Shoppers Origin Survey tracks the general area that your visitors originate from. This data can be used to target local marketing or promotional literature at specific parts of the wider catchment for your town to encourage others to make the journey. It can also be used as evidence of the success of such campaigns or other elements of your action plan by gauging the penetration into the population of their understanding of the benefits your town offers The postcodes have been split into 3 categories to be able to compare with other towns. The categories are: Locals; those who live within a Post Code covering Southam Tourists; those who live within a Post Code further than a 30 minute drive away Visitors; those who live within a Post Code less than a 30 minute drive away In total 233 Post Codes were gathered by retailers within Southam
Locals Tourists Visitors
Southam 70% 13% 17%
National 58% 8% 34%
The table illustrates that from the Post Codes gathered, 70% were from shoppers who lived within Southam, which is higher than the National average of 58%. The percentage of those who lived within a 30 minute drive of Southam was noticeably lower than the National average, 17% compared to 34%, whilst interestingly the figure for Tourists was higher, 13% compared to 8%. ____________________________________________________________________
Published on May 11, 2011